The Presidency, on Tuesday, charged those against the administration’s ranching and colony programmes for herdsmen to rethink, noting that they are better off living with the ranches and colonies than dying through the persisting conflicts.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, speaking on an AIT morning programme in response to a question on ancestral attachments to land said: “Ancestral attachment? You can only have ancestral attachment when you are alive. If you are talking about ancestral attachment, if you are dead, how does the attachment matter?
The exhortation from the Presidency came on a day Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said that history would be harsh on the present administration if it failed to stop the mass killing of innocent Nigerians.
This is even as the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the 17 Southern states yesterday said the insecurity pervading the country, particularly in the North Central zone, poses grave danger to the conduct of next year’s general elections.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, gave the admonishment as he alleged a conspiracy by alleged critics of the administration to frustrate moves towards resolving the crises in the country.
Adesina, who spoke on AIT morning programme, said it was wrong to describe the attacks against farmers as one directed against Christians.
He said: “Hundreds have been killed in Zamfara, are they Christians? People have been killed in Birnin Gwari, are they Christians?
“What is happening is criminality, pure and simple, and it must be brought to an end. Government has a big role to play in this but the people themselves have a role to play.”
Noting what he described as a campaign to stop the implementation of the administration’s plans to check the farmers-herders conflict, Adesina said: “Some people are saying don’t use government money to build ranches. If truly they don’t have lands, that is fine, but remember that Kogi State offered 15,000 hectares of land for cattle colony and in the midst of that offer vicious attacks were unleashed.
“In Plateau State, where we had the recent orgy of killings, the government has offered land for ranches and I tell you that some people are interested in this thing not being resolved.”
When asked about the ancestral attachment by the people of those states to their lands, he said: “Ancestral attachment? You can only have ancestral attachment when you are alive. If you are talking about ancestral attachment, if you are dead, how does the attachment matter?
“The National Economic Council that recommended ranching didn’t just legislate it, there were recommendations.
“So, if your state genuinely does not have land for ranching, it is understandable; not every state will have land for ranches. But where you have land and you can do something, please do for peace. What will the land be used for if those who own it are dead at the end of the day?”
Adesina further said the administration is doing its best to ensure peace throughout the country.
“There are different theatres of crises in the country and you may look at each theatre with its peculiarities. In the Middle Belt, it has its own peculiarities and what is the peculiarity of that, Farmers-Herders conflict. What has the government done?
“It has sent in security agencies starting with the police, later troops, later different operations by the military,” he said.